tv Hardball Weekend MSNBC October 14, 2012 4:00am-4:30am PDT
the distinction of being tougher prisons, kentucky's most violent inmates are still sent to the castle on the cumberland. that's our report. thanks for watching. i'm john seigenthaler. the biden offensive, let's play hardball. good evening. i'm chris matthews back in washington. let me start tonight with the strange bedfellows of the abortion debate. we just got a good look at this pair. mitt romney says he's pro-life but doesn't intend to do anything that's pro-life. ryan says he's pro-life and means it. he wants to dump roe v wade.
he and his cohorts would proceed to ban it in every sate they could closing abortion rights down into as few states as possible. in this way they would make the banning of abortion a matter of geography. the more states they could get to pass a ban, the further a woman would have to travel to have one. presumably abortion would be safe and legal in coastal states like new york and california. live in the middle, however, and you'd have to leave not just your town and state but maybe the entire region to get to a state where your decision would be respected. this is ryan's plan for american women. but he doesn't stop there. he's also a co-sponsor of the personhood bill that would declare a fertilized human egg a person with all the 14th amendment requirements of life, liberty, and property as well. it would not just outlaw abortion, it would make it murder. joining me to absorb those facts are alex wagner and ron reagan, author and radio talk show host from seattle. i have to start with a woman, makes sense, doesn't it, alex? >> it does. >> it does make sense. there weren't any women arguing this last night, of course, but it does seem to me strange that here we are in the second
debate, at the very end when martha raddatz to her credit brought up these philosophical questions and finally out of nowhere like a jack-in-the-box you begin to hear the real thinking, the real planning, the real philosophy, the future perhaps, if he gets elected vice president, of paul ryan. what did you make of the fact we got this at the tail end of an hour and a half debate? >> i will say i thought martha raddatz did -- overall she was a tough, good moderator, but i thought it was a failure on her part to not bring up more of the women's freedoms issues. mitt romney and paul ryan have very, very extreme positions on women's reproductive rights, and to sort of book end or to just end -- give it like five to ten minutes in what is the only vice presidential debate i think was really shortchanging the issue. that said, if paul -- sorry, if joe biden drew blood last night, i thought it was on this issue in particular. this is not an issue of contraception coverage. these aren't nuanced positions on, you know, the catholic church and reproduction. this is fundamentally the question of whether women have the right to choose, and paul ryan could not answer the
question, and to many, many women from both sides of the aisle, this is something that you vote on. i mean, this is not a subtle sort of tax policy nuance. this is about having the choice to have an abortion and the dialogue that goes on between a woman and her doctor. and it was clear that the romney/ryan ticket is in a place that the obama/biden ticket is not. >> well, you made a point that i like to make. we can argue about a lot of issues, as i said. there were a lot of issues debated last night like benghazi, which are vitally important, but not exactly a voting issue. now to you, ron reagan. a voting issue is an issue like gun rights to some people who are hunters or sportsmen. they will vote on that issue alone. a lot of women, not just single women, many women are watching very carefully what these male politicians are saying about their rights, and that's how they vote sometimes. >> well, indeed, and as well they should.
it's tempting to say that, well, paul ryan might be the extremist here, mitt romney, he's the reasonable guy and he's at the head of the ticket. that's exactly what paul ryan is saying now. well, it's romney's ticket so -- >> depends which day of the week. >> yeah, exactly. but actually mitt romney is not so moderate himself. if you look back at his record, which is really one long series of equivocations and calibrations on the subject of abortion, you realize that he doesn't really have any strong personal feelings himself or doesn't seem to. when he was running for the senate in massachusetts, for instance, he was told by his pollster that basically you have to be pro-choice or you can't win in massachusetts. so he effectively became pro-choice. as he gets ready to run for president when he's been governor of massachusetts, now he needs to be anti-choice, and so that's what he becomes. while he's governor of massachusetts though and preparing to run for governor, he actually vetoed an emergency contraception bill. in other words, a woman comes in and says i've been raped or maybe my contraceptive device
didn't work and i'm afraid i might become pregnant, i need something to prevent a pregnancy, no, mitt romney doesn't think women should have that available to them, and paul ryan, of course, doesn't think they should be able to have an abortion in the case of rape or incest either. >> i want to show some tape. back to you, alex, because you are so good at this. let me ask you this. we have had people flip-flop, but he flips within hours. this week he said i'm not going to go do anything. i'm going back to mitt romney here. on this sort of strange bedfellows ticket. he's out there saying, i'm not going to do anything on abortion rights, and then andrea saul immediately corrected it and said, oh, yes, he is. she called "the national review" a conservative magazine to make the point. so what is the policy? what the assistant says afterwards or what he says when most people are watching? it's one of those 47% things. the bigger the audience, the less likely he is to tell you the truth. >> i mean, we have likened mitt romney's positions to a carousel. one day it's that color horse, the next day another color horse it just spins round and round.
what we do know -- to be honest, chris, grover norquist has said we just need someone sitting in the executive office that has functioning digits to sign on the dotted line. that's usually bandied about as far as taxes and the economy. i don't think anybody knows what mitt romney thinks about whether a woman should have the right to choose. what i think is he's governed by the loudest, strongest voices in his own party. he makes fear-based decisions in that sense, and given that, and given the extremes to which the republican party has come on every issue concerning women and their bodies, whether that's planned parenthood funding, shutting down the last remaining abortion clinic in certain parts of the country, or the basic question of a woman's right to choose, they have shanghaied this party on the fringes of the right. mitt romney, why should we think he will do anything differently. >> and he has yet to show any strength at any point in this campaign of standing up to the right when they put pressure on
him. on the issue of abortion, the differences between the two tickets could not have been clearer or the stakes more evident. here is paul ryan on why he opposes a woman's right to choose. let's listen to the man himself. >> i believe that life begins at conception. that's why -- those are the reasons why i'm pro-life. now, i understand this is a difficult issue, and i respect people who don't agree with me on this, but the policy of a romney administration will be to oppose abortion with the exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. >> outlaw abortion. the vice president himself, biden, joe biden, laid out his position and how he squares it with his catholic faith. let's listen to this. >> with regard to abortion, i accept my church's position on abortion. life begins at conception, that's the church's judgment. i accept it in my personal life, but i refuse to impose it on equally devout christians and muslims and jews and i just refuse to impose that on others,
unlike my friend here, the congressman. i do not believe that we have a right to tell other people that -- women that they can't control their body. it's a decision between them and their doctor in my view and the supreme court, i'm not going to interfere with that. >> let's get to the extreme ideology here. first run. he subscribes to and he's a co-sponsor, paul ryan, along with todd akin from missouri who is fighting it out with claire mccaskill who made his notorious statements about so-called legitimate rape. as opposed to other kinds of rape. >> the great scientist todd akin. >> with his theories. about reproductive reality or unreality. look at this thing. he basically supports and co-sponsors a bill that would provide the human life shall be deemed to begin with fertilization. it's basically a personhood amendment. you become a person at the split second of fertilization after the act of procreation, after sex. you are a person right there basically.
he goes on in the gop platform, which if you think it doesn't matter, human life amendment to the constitution. they're supporting it. and they support legislation to make clear that the 14th amendment protections apply to unborn children. 14th amendment of life, liberty and property under the 14th amendment. there you have exactly the opposite of what mitt romney said this week when he was interviewed when he said there's not going to be any legislation coming. here is legislation to give 14th amendment protections that we all have to unborn children. this is something they keep sneaking in. they keep putting in co-sponsored bills. they put in their platform, and it's like if they get in power and they do it, they can always say to people who voted, well, look, we told you. you just weren't looking at the fine print. you were listening to the speeches when we were in a big room. not when we were writing platforms and co-sponsoring bills. you should have paid attention to the whole thing. taking away your right to choose. and you should have known it. i'm being blunt. i wish they'd be blunt, but they don't want to be blunt.
>> well, they're blunt sometimes, blunt among themselves, but this is exactly how radical this is. think about what that would mean. a fertilized egg is a human being with all the rights that a human beings have. in other words, if a woman was pregnant, say a month pregnant, and decided she wanted to run a marathon and as a result had a miscarriage, she could be charged with negligent homicide under this law. certain kinds of contraception would be illegal under this law. women who had abortion would be murderers under this law. that is the sort of thinking that animates paul ryan. >> well, the other reason, and this is something i know they never thought of, alex, and i'm kidding because it's so unreal, if you're here without papers, you're an illegal immigrant and you're in the country and you get pregnant. that pregnancy is a person under the 14th amendment and certainly can't be taken out of the country. they're a citizen of the united states. you can't leave. so if you don't want to get thrown out of the country, get pregnant. they can't even move you without violating the 14th amendment
rights of life, liberty, and property of the fertilized egg. this is how unthinking i think they are within their own prejudicial map they try to figure out. your thoughts? >> massive hypocrisy and short-term thinking has characterizing almost all of the republican thinking around women and their bodies. can i say something, chris? all of this stuff, whether it's defunding planned parenthood or the personhood amendment or the mandatory ultrasounds, this is all part of a calculated effort on the part of the republican party to shame and intimidate women in what is an incredibly difficult, horrible decision. no one makes this choice out of joy. no one comes out of the doctor's office happy about this. what they have done is systematically denigrate women and their ability to know what's best for them and their families. it's an economic decision, it's a moral decision, it's a religious decision, and i think the republican party has been shameful in the way they have talked about this and legislated around it. >> let's go to a real life case. nbc's great debate focus group
had a woman who hits the democratic bull's-eye in terms of voters concerned about this. she's a white female, age 46, mother of teenagers. a retired high school teacher and still undecided. here is how the abortion issue is concerning to her. let's listen to her own words. this is very human here. >> if you go with ryan, what he believes is, you know, life begins at conception and that's what roman catholics are supposed to believe, but i'm a woman, and i want to have the right to do what i want with my body. so it's a little bit of a conflict. >> it's a big conflict. you're still undecided, but overall did that discussion help you make up your mind? >> it did when i found out how close in the supreme court it is to overturning roe v. wade. >> which way are you leaning? >> i think i'm leaning towards obama. >> you know, ron reagan and then alex, real quickly, we have
supreme court openings perhaps in the next presidency. it's just a matter of mortality. there are older members of the court, about four of them now in their mid-70s, some in bad health. there's a good chance the next president will make a couple appointments, maybe even three or four. and so the issue of roe v. wade is not settled in this country. it's a bit fragile at this point. >> and the republicans take -- the republican ticket takes a states rights position on this which allows them to have their cake and eat it, too. let's not forget, the anti-choice people, they don't really want this issue to go away entirely. yes, they'd like to repeal roe v. wade and declare victory there, but they'd love it if california and new york still had abortion legal because then they could continue the fight. they could plant their victory flag and still raise money to overturn abortion in california and a few other states. thank you for joining us. all about joe. if his goal was to fire up the democratic base, he sure did it. did he move the numbers? has he started moving them back towards obama.
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welcome back to "hardball." whether you loved it or not or hated it, joe biden's performance dominated the stage last night as he went on offense against paul ryan and mitt romney. let's take a look. >> i have never met two guys who were more down on america across the board. we're told everything is going badly. 5.2 million new jobs, private sector jobs. stop talking about how you care about people. show me something. show me a policy. they talk about this great recession as if it fell out of the sky, like, oh, my goodness, where did it come from? it came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card. these guys haven't been big on medicare from the beginning. look, folks, use your common sense. who do you trust on this? a man who introduced a bill that would raise it $6,400 a year knowing it and passing it and romney saying he'd sign it or me and the president?
>> well, the democratic base if you want to call it that, it means the left i suppose, needed a boost and the vice president certainly delivered it last night with his passionate performance that wouldn't quit for an hour and a half, but firing up the base was only part of the goal. president obama takes the stage against mitt romney again next tuesday. he's going to have to bring more to the debate than just a little bit of excitement. certainly his problem out in colorado may continue again in a second debate. anyway, chris cillizza is managing editor of post politics.com and a real good student of politics. and also an msnbc contributor. and joe klein is a veteran like me, a columnist for "time" magazine. i want to go to joe about the other joe last night. joe was active, exciting, overexcited perhaps, laughed a lot, perhaps laughed to ridicule and maybe the ridicule was appropriate. putting it all together, do you agree with me he won? >> oh, yeah, i think he won. i think he gave the other side some talking points with all of his smirking and laughing and so on, although i imagine if you're in the reality-based world, it's
kind of tough to just sit there and pout while the guy is, you know -- >> well said. >> -- quoting whoppers. >> what are you supposed to do in this crazy split screen world? what are you supposed to do with your face when the guy three feet from you is saying thins you think are dead wrong? are you supposed to look down like the president did? and he was dumped o on for that. or do you look up with a jolly face? >> or seriously take notes and shake your head in a disparaging way, but it should be smaller whatever it is than what joe was doing. joe was doing last night. although as he would say, god bless him, i love the guy. >> let me ask you, chris, their view of this. we were talking before, if you know joe biden, you discount the overlarge personality responses, it's very east coast, very big. there's no subtlety. >> it's all heart if you like him.
>> if you didn't know him before, wouldn't you be thinking what is the guy laughing at? >> yes is the answer to your question. you know, barack obama was asked what should joe biden do, he said, well, joe just needs to be joe. well, joe was definitely joe. >> that's what his son said on the show last night. >> he did what barack obama said he should do. i think that broadly you're exactly right, chris, which is the democratic base wanted this. they like that joe biden. they don't care that, oh, well, he was disparaging. they don't care about any of that stuff related to paul ryan. they like the laughing and smiling. they think what paul ryan is saying is fundamentally wrong and ludicrous. the republican base doesn't like joe biden going in. they're not going to like joe biden going out. it doesn't change the race in any way, shape, or form. i don't want to sound too cynical, my guess is most people who remain undecided at this point probably were watching some combination of orioles/yankees, nfl, something else. >> we'll see. here is what john dickerson wrote in slate today about the vice president performance. biden was defending the middle class while ryan was defending
romney. biden's greatest asset was his passion though he might have been over the top. it was possible for a viewer to conclude that he was simply passionate about the middle class. take a look at joe biden early in the debate going after romney on his 47% comments. >> but it shouldn't be surprising for a guy who says 47% of the american people are unwilling to take responsibility for their own lives. my friend recently in a speech in washington said 30% of the american people are takers. these people are my mom and dad, the people i grew up with, my neighbors. they pay more effective tax than governor romney pays in his federal income tax. i have had it up to here with this notion that 47% -- it's about time they take some responsibility here, and instead of signing pledges to grover norquist not to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute to bring back the middle class, they should be signing a pledge saying to the middle class, we're going to level the playing field. >> joe klein, that's a winning
riff from my account. the way he pronounced grover norquist is the way i pronounce with a "d" in it, it's like complete disdain for anybody to sign a petition -- >> i think he won the debate at that moment. you know what distinguished that from almost everything else we see in these debates? it was real. that wasn't political talk. that wasn't focus group talk. that wasn't consultant talk. that was just joe. >> joe klein, great having you on. chris, up next. tea party and birther. boy, that's a duo. congressman steve king showed up with some writing on his hands. his staff says he wasn't actually cheating. he hadn't washed his hands. from a previous case in cheating, what does he have handwriting on his hand for. you are supposed to use your hand to write, not to write on. this is hardball, a place for politics. ouncer ] why do more emergency workers everywhere trust duracell...?? duralock power preserve.
now back to "hard ball." >> steve king was saying after a debate. why? keep a close eye on the iowa congressman's hands in this clip from the, no notes allowed, debate. >> i write bills, introduce bills, turn them into amendments and succeed in getting them passed. by a measurement of congressman, jeff flake -- >> pause, no mistaking it, he has writing on his hand. there it is. his spokesman's response, something pretty close to, he didn't use enough soap. the congressman has a habit of writing things on his hand. he does it when he is on the house floor, when campaigning, with constituents. if he doesn't wash his hands good enough, he probably has notes from yesterday. one look at that and you can't help but recall this.
>> you got to start reigning in the spending, jump-start these energy projects that, again, we have heard so much about. >> wow, the former candidate for vice president there consulting some notes on her hand. that's hardball for now. thanks for being with us. coming up next, your business with j.j. ramberg. meet the patriarch of a we took the best of the old and combined it with modern technology. together you get quality services on your terms, with total customer support. legalzoom documents have been accepted in all 50 states, and they're backed by a 100% satisfaction guarantee. so go to legalzoom.com today and see for yourself. it's law that just makes sense. and i was told to call my next of kin. at 33 years old, i was having a heart attack. now i'm on a bayer aspirin regimen. [ male announcer ] be sure to talk to your doctor before you begin an aspirin regimen.
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